After our international trip, I observed two types of people: those who love kids and those who don’t.
Majority of the people that we encountered were kid lovers. They were so drawn to our twins. They included my childhood friends, my college friends, my relatives, my dad’s office people, my parents’ friends, and even the cleaning lady for my dad. They would immediately kneel down and interact with my kids. They wanted to hold them, play with them, and talk with them. Their faces lit up when they saw the kids. They paid more attention to the kids than to the adults who were with the kids. This is probably why most of the people in this world want kids and make babies. They genuinely like kids.
Now fast forward to meeting up with my high school best friend. She is an interesting person. I know her really well and know her view on many things in life including wedding, marriage, and kids. She dislikes going to weddings. She does not believe in marriage. And she is not interested in kids at all. When she was in town in transit to ski in the United States, she didn’t ask to see me or to come see the kids. When we got married, she asked for permission to not come to our wedding. Instead, she gave us a very generous gift of a very expensive and high quality photo album from our wedding photographer. Knowing her so well, I didn’t mind her not attending our wedding and in exchange we have a really nice photo album to cherish forever. It was a win-win situation. I knew that she was traveling in the beginning our our trip. I contacted her again when we got back to my hometown to see if we could get together. It seemed like it was impossible to see her there, but she happened to be flying out around the same time as us on the same day. We made plans to meet at the airport for a meal.
It was hectic to get into the airport (because of heightened security) as well as to go through the check-in process with twin toddlers in tow and ten thousand pieces of luggage. We finally got to the food court area where my friend came to meet us. It was actually quite interesting to see her reaction to the kids. She had no intention in standing anywhere close to them. The kids were watching a video and eating their lunch. I was sitting next to them giving them food. My friend came and stood on the other side of me and didn’t really ask anything about the kids. We asked the kids to say Hi to auntie which they pleasantly complied. My friend went on to chat with me about things and didn’t really say anything to the kids. Towards the end, Bunny walked over to give my friend a hug which surprised my friend a great deal. I could tell that her body froze up a little and she didn’t know how to react. I said, “Bunny wanted to give you a hug goodbye,” to which my friend said, “Aww how nice.” Hahaha. I told her the kids’ names, but I am still not sure if she remembers them.
This doesn’t surprise me, but it is just so interesting for me to see how a person who genuinely has no interest in children interacts (or doesn’t interact) with my kids. It was just such a big contrast to the majority of the people that we met on our trip who were so drawn to the twins it was just so obvious to see the difference. I don’t mind it either way. It just made a pretty big impression on me that not the whole world is into kids. It is not because they have had past hurts, or they want to avoid kids because they are childfree not by choice. They just do not want kids, like kids, or want to have anything to do with kids. My friend is a very good example.
I used to be a group leader for an evening class for an international bible study program. Now I attend a day class with my twins because of their children’s program for kids age 5 and under. A couple of weeks prior to our trip to Asia, in one of the class meetings, I noticed this lady and thought that she looked familiar to a point I felt that I might have spoken to her before. Last week when we returned to bible study after our trip, I dropped the kids off in their classroom and was warmly welcomed by the children’s teachers who called out my name. On my way out to my own classroom, someone else called my name. I looked up and it was the lady that looked familiar to me. She asked me if I remembered her. I told her that I noticed her a little while back and thought she looked very familiar. She reminded me that we sat next to each other on a plane ride to a retreat for this international bible study program a few years back. She remembered that I told her that if I had kids, I would name my son this particular name that now Okra has. She remembers because her son has the same name. All the memory came rushing back. It was 5.5 years ago. We had just had our very first transfer with our first blastocyst we named Clay and a morula we named Eli. I had my first pregnancy that turned out to be a chemical pregnancy. I was so heartbroken to a point that I felt kind of paralyzed, but felt that God was leading me to still attend this retreat. This lady and I sat next to each other and realized we were going to the same retreat. We hit it off and somehow I shared with her about my situation. And that was when I told her what I would name my son and her son happened to have the same name. That was so early on in our journey to parenthood I didn’t know (of course not) the crazy twists and turns in the next few years that would get us to the current time. I didn’t know it back then but it took a lot of time, energy, money, and serious/thoughtful consideration before we decided on using an egg donor and a gestational carrier. Looking back, God seriously watched over us every step of the way. I might have had doubts back then if I really would have a son who I could name [Okra’s name]. Meeting this lady again and remembering the details of our initial struggles reminds me of how faithful God is/has been even when I have little faith at times. Being able to share with this lady that God has indeed given us these precious kids and completed our family is nothing sort of a miracle. She witnessed the beginning of a story and now gets to read the ending. It is like coming a full circle. God is good.
We finally arrived back home after a 4-week international trip. I felt brave to have done it, and it was as challenging as I had imagined. The most challenging was the plane rides. One kid didn’t want to nap or sleep, so she fought hard to stay awake and was usually overly tired. Nothing could please her and the requests for me got tired quickly. The other kid was fine with sitting and dozing off, but would flail his arms and kick his legs hard when he suddenly woke up from his sleep. No amount of consoling would help until he started to calm himself down in my arms. This was true for 3 out of the 4 flights.
I am happy to be back home, but like I said in my last post, that I am so glad that we went. The kids and I hung out with my grandma the day before we left. It was just heartwarming to see them interact with her, and her smiles and comments about their cuteness. Okra was in my grandma’s lap watching the fish and turtle in the tanks, and Bunny was standing behind her doing the same. We took some videos of that and I will cherish them forever.
I will continue to go unpack, but I will end with this story.
The flight from India to my home town was at an ungodly hour of 2am. We let the kids sleep from 7pm to 10pm, then we woke them up to get them to the airport. At 1:15 am, we were waiting to board. Both kids were hyper and running around. Okra got to push our wheeled carryon suitcase around like a car and was super happy. After 10 minutes of that, he suddenly hugged the suitcase and said, “I love you!” 3 to 4 times! He had never even said that to me voluntarily. It was so cute. Funny kid.
Despite how difficult an international trip has been with twin toddlers, I remind myself of all the good things that I observe during the trip. I am truly grateful for them.
- Transportation has been convenient because my uncle has a mini-van that my dad has been borrowing, and my dad (and my brother when he was in town) is super willing to do pick ups and drop offs.
- Transportation in India was a breeze as well despite some crazy traffic because we had the means to hire a car and a driver.
- Despite the time change, Bunny has been sleeping through the night in both my home town and in India since day one.
- Okra has more difficulty with nap time and bed time, but he is consolable whenever we need to console him.
- So far, all three flights were horrible and after them, my body really needed time to adjust to the lack of rest. Fortunately, one night of sleep was enough to help with recuperating.
- The kind of help that my parents have been providing for us has been nothing short of amazing. Bob is currently away being at a work conference at the next town. My parents have been helping out with all the childcare needs. My dad buys and carries all the groceries home and my mom helps with all the daily chores including laundry, bath, and breakfast/lunch/dinner. Without them, the trip would have been much harder.
- How happy my grandma is when she is with the kids has been so nice for me to watch. Because of her age, she is not too lucid at times. However, whenever she sees the kids, her face lights up and she is all smiles. For this reason alone, the trip is worth it.
- The kids spending time with relatives from both sides of the family has been truly memorable. They took to them well and were willing to play and interact with them. And, seeing how much my husband’s family loves the kids and how much my family loves the kids is the highlight of this extended time we have spent away from home.
We have a few more days left here. I am very glad we decided to make this trip. I think the true test is when we go home to face the time change and jet lag there. I will report back how that goes.
Kids waiting at the gate for grandpa’s ride